Archive- Carvin BX500 Mono Block 500w Bass Amp Head

Carvin BX500 bass amplifier

adobe pdf icon      BX500_manual.pdf

The BX500 is a sleek bass head with easy to read instrument knobs offering an array of features - 3 EQ sections, 12AX7 tube, high power and an ultralight 5.8 lbs chassis. Beneath the sharply dressed exterior, the BX500 has unsurpassed versatility, great power and useful features to help you get any sound you want. It's light weight, premium features and rugged construction will make the BX500 an indispensable part of your rig for years to come. 

BX500 Features: 
- 300w RMS at 8 ohms, 500w at 4 ohms and 500w at 2 ohms
- A rich, warm 12AX7 tube drives the Class D power amp
- A powerful 4-band, two sweep tone control section offers parametric frequency changes to the LOW MIDS and HI MIDS along with the BASS and TREBLE controls for unlimited number of options for dialing in your sound
- The 9-band graphic EQ is footswitch-able, as well as via a switch on the front plate for great control of your overall tone
- A single knob controls the optical compressor with an auto limiter to keep your peaks in check
- A Drive knob, plus Master Volume easily controls all your levels
- A conveniently located Mute switch and an Active/Passive switch tailors the input for different pickup configurations
- Two combination Speakon™ - 1/4" outputs, 2 ohm operation switch, footswitch, balanced XLR, tuner/headphone output, effects loop and tube bypass switch are located on the rear panel
- The CLASS D output feature high current, high speed FET’s for continuous 2 ohm operation
- The Switchmode power supply operates at 100,000 Hz delivering maximum efficiency while reducing weight
- The head runs cool from its 94% efficiency - no wasted heat or energy from the AC plug
- Auto-switching AC input for 120V 60 Hz or 240V 50 Hz
- Size: 14" wide x 9" deep x 2.8" high, with rackmount kit: 19" wide x 9" deep x 3.5" high
- Weight: 5.8 pounds
- Made in San Diego, CA 

BX500 Rear Panel



- Output Power: 8 Ohms: 300wRMS, 4 Ohms: 500wRMS, 2 Ohms: limited at 500wRMS
- 8 ohms Dynamic Peak: 600w 
- 4 ohms Dynamic Peak: 1000w
- Input Impedance: >200Kohms
- Output Mode: High Efficiency CLASS D technology
- Power Supply: High Efficiency High Frequency switching
- Frequency Response: +/- 1 dB 10 Hz - 20 kHz - THD: 0.1% @ 50% output
- 1% 20-20 kHz @ 90% output
- Damping Factor: >300
- Preamp: 3 stage CLASS A
- Passive/Active Input: 10 dB gain switch - accommodates all basses
- Preamp Tube: 12AX7 switchable in/out
- Bass/Treble: +/-12 dB at 50 Hz and +/-12 dB at 10kHz
- Contour control: Flat to -15 dB at 500 Hz
- 1 Low Mid Parametric: +/- 12 dB sweepable 50 to 500 Hz
- 2 Hi Mid Parametric: +/- 12 dB sweepable 200 to 2kHz
- Graphic Equalizer: 9 band +/- 10 dB @ 50,80,125,250,500,800,1.3k,2.6k,5k
- Compressor/Limiter: up to 3:1 compression ratio. convenient one knob control
- Direct Out: -50 to +4 dBu adjustable, DC isolated XLR output
- Effects Loop: -10dBV, buffered 
- FS22 Footswitch: Graphic EQ on/off, MUTE on/off
- Soft Start: gradually turns on the amp to prevent surges
- Speaker Protection: protection circuit immediately disconnects your speakers
- Over-Current: protected, Under-Voltage protected, Thermal protected
- AC Voltage Input: 90-250V, 50-60 Hz
- Rack Mount: optional 2U faceplate BX500RP
- Dimensions: 71mm (2.8") high, 230mm (9") deep, 356mm (14") wide
- Net Weight: 2.3 kg (5.0 lbs)
- Made in San Diego, CA


Daniel Spada Tupper Lake, New York 
"I have purchased Carvin PA equipment in the past and was very pleased with the ruggedness and quality. I did a lot of research for a new bass amp and was initially going to go for an amp with built in software and a tuner. You know, geegaws. What sold me was the weight of the amp, the no-nonsense approach to tonal functionality, the fact it was made in the U.S., and my past experience with Carvin quality. I am not disappointed. This amp kills! I'm not a super tech person, but I can get just about any tone I want out of this amp and with relatively simple adjustments. It's volume is only limited by the speaker boxes you're playing through. If this amp doesn't have enough volume, I'm convinced it's a failure on the speaker side, not the amp side. I am very pleased as are my bandmates. Keep up the good work Carvin." 

Charlie Pastorfield USA 
"No question, just wanted to tell someone -- I've been playing bass since 1965, and I've owned a bunch of amps. I've played 10 gigs now with the BX500 in all kinds of circumstances, and I've come to conclusion that it's the best bass amp I've ever played through." 

Eddie Currents Florida
"I have been using a well maintained SVT and either two or four JBL E-140 loaded Baltic Birch, 15" Thiel aligned cabinets for 35 years. I play heavy duty rock and some stuff surely lacking adequate description. I've owned 2 SVT Golems and it's no secret why bass players seek these boat anchors out, no matter how beat up. And it's no lie that they help keep Chiropractors in business. As I reach my "tender years", I find I have little love for hoisting an SVT down off my stack at the end of a gig and schleping it out to the truck (so sorry, nowdays no roadies - saving money). 

It would seem an un-fair comparison at first glance; an SVT vs. a solid state amp of ANY type/brand? Ho ho, was I surprised once I got some tone dialed in and the knobs properly set. After playing a little on my 5 string Carvin Icon (which I love), I was impressed. Folks, I wouldn't have believed the sock in the gut this lightweight matter blaster gave me when I rolled upon the Master volume halfway (it was silent, NO noise) and thwhacked an E. It was clean, massive and best; it was ROUND. I don't have a better word for it but my SVTs ALWAYS sounded huge and round - never square or honky like an Acoustic or Peavey. 

Urban legend: Tube amps accent EVEN harmonics and Solid State amps accent ODD harmonics. Hey, I don't know but when I switch in and out the tube in the preamp path of the BX-500, it surely has something to do with of what I speak. Glassy smooth power with no honk (unless you EQ for that; this amp WILL honk if you spank it and turn off the tube). 

The built in compressor is an unexpected treat. Bass players know that virtually every time that they are recorded they WILL be abused, flattened and squished (like a pumpkin on November 1) by compression anyway, so why not control the issue as best you can yourself? BTW, a tasty feature on future Carvin amps I would not mind seeing; a pre-amp out that is PRE anything AND another POST everything - not either but both. These could be recorded to two tracks so that when eventually mixing down, a poor bass player might be able to recover some dynamic content? Perhaps side chain the uncompressed track? 

I can only speak for myself and tell you of my experience. With the two cabs I normally use, I have as close to what I am used to as can reasonably be expected and it is in many ways actually way better - like 100 pounds worth right away for sure! That alone pays Goliath sized dividends. Oh, I won't miss replacing tubes either (17 of them in an SVT). 

But you know, it all comes down to sounding like or hopefully even as good as an SVT, at least for me and I tell you that so far (I just got it) I love this amp. It sounds huge and full - expansive and articulate. My sound is intact and those that hear me (NOBODY has trouble hearing me, even on a bad night) are saying that I sound great. Our PA IS helping somewhat out front but what I hear is my rig and it sounds excellent. I even love the blue pilot light! Way to go Carvin." 

Bob Richards Phoenix, AZ
"You guys hit it out of the park on this one! I built a pair of home made 2-10 cabinets that are at 4 ohms. I have been waiting for a company to put out a class D ampliier that can be run at 2 ohms. God answered my prayer! WOW, you would not believe the head room this thing has driving both my cabinets. I took it out and tested it live in a 300 seat auditorium. It filled the room without going through the PA. The tone is beautiful and even with the EQ kicked in, it runs quiet. At the price and with the features, this amp is way over the top! Thank You!" 

Mike Wiegert 
"The BX500 Bass Head came in this week and WOW! This thing just blew me away! I Gigged with it Thurs & Fri and this thing has so much, I dailed it in to the sound I like and the power of this is amazing for the size and weight. the sound man was even blown away by it's sound he said that was the best tuned in sound that he's ever heard from me. Thanks Again!" 

Jerry Williams Gulf Coast, MS
"The BX500 is a Winner! Bravo Carvin! I recieved this little monster a week ago and I'm simply blown away from the power and sound that comes from such a small package! Had my doubts before ordering but with Carvins reputation and prior personal experience with other products, took a leap of faith with this lil cracker box! I needed something small in size but didn't want to compromise on power or tone. Whoever said you can't have it all, is a thing of the past! If ya can't find your sound with this amp, you don't have one! The 12AX7 tube in circuit on preamp section is what it is all about! Rich and Sweet are only failing adjectives for loss of words here! I set this amp on top of a BR210 cab (sideways-10's on top of other) for studio, best this cab has ever sounded! Also used on my other cab (a single light weight Ampeg 1x12" cab)-with spkr. replaced with the Carvin 300 watt 4ohm 12"bass/PA spkr! (road cab.) The whole rig weighs in at 20lbs. and sounds like a rig that is 4 times it size! Can't beat this mule pound for pound or watt for watt! Will fit in any size coffe shop venue and can take it there in my Mazda Miata Convertible, if I take my Steinberg bass! Super job Carvin!" 

Mark Templeton Middleton, PA
"I ordered the BX500 knowing Carvin's quality. I have been waiting for a Carvin amp with a tube pre-amp. I was very happy to plug the BX500 in and turn it on. The amp offers a wide array of sounds, including the great warm tube tone I love. This is a great amp, and the fact that it only weighs 5 lbs. is awesome! I can't wait to get out and gig with this puppy! Thanks Carvin!" 

Vinnie Pantaleoni Sacramento, CA
"This head is amazing, what more can I say. When I first got it, I used the similar settings from my BX1200 head, what a sound. I run the graphic EQ scooped, the parametric midrange controls are flat, the contour and compression at 10pm, the bass and treble at 2pm and that's it, this head sounds great. I like the sound of the BX500 better than my BX1200. 

Playing it thru a Carvin BRX10.4 neo cab this head delivers full bass, great EQ, tight compression and the tube adds so much fullness to the sound, plus it can get very loud. It's so light at only 5.5 lbs, it's a blessing for my bad elbows. I got the rackmount for it and it fits perfectly into my 2 space SKB case. Carvin, you've deliver a great product, I can't wait to hear other user reviews." 

Tim Beaton London, England
"Hey, being a long time admirer of Carvin products (my brother bought a DC150 back in 1979) but finding them rarer than hen's teeth over here in the UK, I was looking for a lightweight bass amp. Quite by chance I came across the BX500, and finally through the good auspices of Guitars Amps Drums in the UK bought one and a BRX 10.2 Neo. 

What a combination! Best bass sound I've ever had on stage, and the most portable! Have made several of my bass-playing mates do a double take when they see the amp, and then look round at their standard 200W amps. 

Only problem is, now that I can obtain your products over here, I am constantly looking at the website trying to convince myself I need another bass/guitar/amp." 

Dawson Flinchbaugh Tampa Bay, FL 
"I've found my bass amp! Knowing that I wanted to keep my Hartke 410XL cabinet, but not happy with the Hartke LH500 amp, I started shopping around. I've neither owned a Carvin product before nor heard much about the company, good or bad. There was an overwhelming amount of positive buzz surrounding the BX500 online, however. Against my better judgement, I decided to take a leap of faith and order one without hearing it. The price was right and I figured I couldn't lose much with the stated return policy. 

I love this amp. I played it for the first time last weekend at an outdoor event. We were the "B"...make that "C" band so we weren't even on a stage. Concrete slab, wide open area and so on. A bass player's nightmare. Not only did I have more than enough volume, but the warm, yet punchy sound coming from four aluminum-coned speakers was awesome. I'd never heard air like that move by my cabinet. 

Settings: I had the drive set to about 4, the master volume at 4, direct level at 4, the EQ had a slight "V" to it and everything else was flat. My rack is about 20lbs lighter, my sound is fatter and (at the same time) with more definition and I couldn't be more pleased. $468 with the rack ears. I sold the LH500 on eBay for $250 so in the end, I bought my happiness for a little more than $200. On a side note, my bass is an average Ibanez Sound Gear 4-string with a Hipshot, EMGs and Badass bridge retrofits. Still, the sound was big. And good. Highly recommended. Thank you, Carvin." 

Andrew VanHausen Dallas, TX 
"I've been looking at all these lightweight amps, and I was nervous about buying one online, sight unseen, but this is great. I get regular compliments on my sound, when the only element in the audio chain to change is this amp. All I need is a lightweight cabinet, and with my Steinberger, I'll be under 75 Lbs total traveling weight for small gigs, jams and rehearsals. Light as a feather, sharp as a knife, and mean as a snake." 

Pitzer Stoffel Nashville, TN 
"Picking this amp up you'd think it was a joke, but the sound this little thing produces is amazing. I've gone up against a really loud drummer and two loud guitar players with this little giant and never had a problem hearing myself. In fact the only problem I had was trying to not drown out everyone else. This thing is very loud and is capable of producing that SVT style tone us rockers crave. I've owned a lot of other amps including SWR, Eden, Ampeg and several other top of the line amps, but this thing is by far my favorite. Can't beat the price, portability, sound and shear volume this amp puts out. And as a bonus this thing has never been hot to the touch even when cranking it into a two ohm load. Try one and you'll be blown away." 

Jeff Weston McDonald, OH 
"Thought I'd wait to get some actual gig time on this thing before I commented. I find absolutely no downside to this amp. I love it. It replaced my old faithful Hartke 3500 (approx. 20 years old now) which I still use for practice and some side gigs. The weight difference is astounding. Lost about 30 lbs. from my rack. The only other thing in the rack is a power conditioner so it feels like I'm carrying an empty rack around when it's all closed up. It's quieter than the Hartke also. You can't tell it's on without the indicator lights or the bass plugged in. I run it through a Peavey 4-10 cabinet with the pre-amp on 3 and the master usually anywhere between 4 and 6. I play an Ibanez 5 string and every note just jumps out crystal clear. I have another 2-10 cabinet (with Carvin speakers in it) if I'm playing a bigger venue but don't really need it normaly. Hopefully it will give me 20 years of trouble free service. So far I give it 5 stars." 

Tom Wilson Memphis, TN 
"I needed a backup to my Hartke rig. I had been looking at Mark Bass and other light weight options as my back is getting tired of lugging heavy equipment around. I was delighted when I checked Carvin's site and saw the BX500. Based on how much I love my Carvin bass, I knew this amp would do the job. What an understatement! It has quickly become my amp of choice! I play in three different bands, and all of them love this amp. I use it to drive a Hartke 210TP cabinet on top of a Hartke 115TP cabinet that contains a heavy-duty 15" Gauss speaker. With this rig I can get the sound I want out of everything from my Carvin 5 string to my electric upright. It lets my vintage Rickenbacker 4001 sound like the monster it is. If you added internal bi-amping to the package this would be the perfect amp for me. Its pretty close as is. Thanks Carvin!" 

Dave Boen Bakersfield, CA 
"GREAT JOB CARVIN! I just got my BX500 this week and I'm blown away by how much tone control I now have. I almost went with a different brand but my Dad said, "Have you concidered Carvin?" Well, I'm glad I did. I also got the BR410 cabinet to go along with this little bad boy. I've playing an amp that is almost 25 yrs. old and haven't been able to afford a new one. Now I have the perfect amp. The tube just gives it a kick that I didn't expect. I will be a Carvin man for life." 

Phillip Spigner Philadelphia, PA 
"This amp is truely a great amp to own. First its quite simple to use. It has the necessary flexibility I needed to accomplish my goal of good accurate sound. I've played the usual Ampeg, SWR, Eden and others. This amp surpasses them in sound quality,and value. The layout is not constricted. Its simple nine band EQ, compressor, parametic and contour adjusters are easy to get to and adjust. BUT, the most important thing is the SOUND. When I pluggged this amdp into my 4x10 cabinet,it just came ALIVE!" 

Joe Fraser Toronto, CA 
"I currently own a great deal of Carvin gear, so I definitely have a certain trust with the brand name. When in LA on vacation in May, I stopped in to the Hollywood store to check out the BX500. I've always liked the idea of a lightweight head but what was available didn't have the features I wanted. The BX500 has a compressor, and extensive EQ'ing which allows me to get any sound I want. I took one home on faith as you never really know until you play with your band if you like what you hear. I have since retired my 50 lb, over $1000 head. I love the tone of this little thing, and get a bit of a kick out of packing my head into a small gym bag with a few cables at the end of night. Job well done guys - thanks!" 

Kevin Byrnes Byron, MI 
"This super lightweight powerhouse blew me away right out of the box. Its loaded with tone shaping controls, and the compression is as good as it gets. Im running a GK 410, and 115 bottom now, but plan to replace them with the BRX210 for a super lightweight rig. Thanks Carvin, this thing ROCKS!!" 

Ken Cama New Jersey 
"What a a great head! Small and light. I use this with two Flite cabs. Great product...thanks!" 

Mark S. Ford Terre Haute, IN
"Carvin gear has ALWAYS been a good value for me. I've been gigging with the BX500 bass head for about two months and I love it! This amp isn't just powerful and unbelieveably small and lightweight, but it is VERY MUSICAL. I'm driving two 10" neo drivers in small boxes and getting wonderful stage-filling sound. The foot-switchable EQ and MUTE let me quickly switch between my Steinberger graphite 4-string and my NS WAV4 upright, and get the perfect tone for each. The compressor is also 'just right'. The Drive control really makes the 12AX7 earn it's keep, and the DI output flawlessly captures the great musical tone. And the amp is actually almost cold even after really slammin' some funk or bowing the upright. Thank you thank you Carvin for building my dream amplifier!" 

Jim Fiegan San Marcos, CA
"Shhhhh......don't spread it around, but the BX500 is the most incredible jazz guitar amp head I've ever played through. I tried it at the San Diego showroom and couldn\'t go home without it. The impressive EQ section along with the 12AX7 tube in the preamp, the light weight and excellent effects loop make this the amp I've always wanted at a knockout price. I'm running it through a 1X12 tweed cabinet for the ultimate great sounding portable rig." 

Mike Brockman Overland Park, KS 
"I would have to say Carvin has responded very well to the class D light weight bass amp market.This is one super bass amp.I received mine yesterday and so far I'm really impressed. First off tonal variations are really almost unlimited. All the features are nice and easy to use.The compressor sounds very good and the contour control allows for even more shaping of your tone.I play thru a Carvin 2x10 and a Carvin 4x10 cabinet,I used them together and WOW the whole house was shakin!Great tone, lightweight, way more features than the other guys, this is a keeper, thanks Carvin!" 

Sammy Russo Denham Springs, LA 
"Great amp, well built. I played a Trace Elliott for 16 years, love the tone but it was old, failing and heavy. I wasn't sure I could get the tone I was looking for but Carvin comes through again. I can get more tone variation from this amp. With the compressor, tube drive, parametric and graphic EQs whatever you hear you can create. Love my amp. Thanks!" 

Roy McDowell Puyallup, WA 
"I absolutely love this amp! It rocks the house with my 210/410 stack with punch and that sweet tube tone brings tears to my eyes. All this in a little package that fits in a laptop case! Way to go, Carvin! Home run." 

Barry Essex Harrison, AR 
"I replaced my old Carvin R600 head with the BX500 mounted it in my Carvin RC210 cab, stack it on a carvin RL118 cab, and have plenty of head room and then some to play just about any sized venue! Thanks Carvin! I'm in love with the sound, quality and the price of the BX500. Gigged with it just once so far, but have more on the calender. I'm gonna put this baby to work! It has made our entire mix sound substantialy better." 

Randy Waters Wilmington, DE 
"After reading many reviews, I just replaced my SWR head with the new BX500. This amp has astonishing tonal options, clarity and power. It runs much cooler and weighs a third less than comparable heads. Together with the Carvin BRX 10.2 NEO (which replaced my SWR Goliath Jr.), I have a rig that is perfect for small to medium size gigs, rehearsals and or studio work. I love that you're able to go from tube to solid state. Low end punch, tube warmth, mid range growl.... The BX500 has it all in a nice little package. Carvin, you've done it again!!" 

Moe Monsarrat Austin, TX
"The Carvin BX500 is an exceptional amplifier in many ways. It's light, very powerful & sounds amazing! I have been a working bassist since 1968 & have used just about every classic bass amp. This little amp sounds sweeter than anything I've ever played on. Combined with a Carvin 2X10 Neo cab it's tone is perfect for what I do. It's the first rig I've recorded in the studio in many years. Usually we go direct through an Avalon, but no more. Now we just stick a mic in front of my!" 

Jeff S. Texas 
"Having done alot of research for months, was looking to replace my Carvin Pro Bass 100 combo with a half stack. 

I have to tell you although I was looking to get the best deal, I was open to spend for the sound I wanted. Being a long time Carvin fan, they were in the running, however like I said I wanted to invest in my sound wisely (not just get a cheap amp & cab). 

Will spare you all of the countless hours-months analyzing amps online, going to GC to play all the brands- GK, Ampeg, Marshall, Peavey, etc.. readings blogs, research..research.. 

Landed with the BX500 & BR410 Cab...Went on ahead & got the 2U RACK & SV Case to fully enclose the amp head. 

This set up is pure Power & Tone, it was 'love at first listen'. Carvin has delivered an awsome amp. I can't imagine needing more power than this. The sculpting you can do with the amp is amazing. I received this on Wed (Jan 27) played live on Sunday (Jan 30), this thing delivered the goods! 

In closing the price & features was AMAZING. You cannot go wrong with this amp. Don't think that because its a small light weight head & inexpensive that this amp is 'cheap'. It is a great deal on for the performance it will deliver. 

As usual happy with the quality of my Carvin sound!" 

SNJ Houston, TX
"I just got the BX500 bass head. I am blown away the sound that I can get out of such a small amp - soooo amazing!!! I'm running a GK Goldline 8x10 800 watts at 4 ohms - I couldnt believe how loud it is......amazing head!!!" 

Bobby Moncivais Iron River, MI
"After a few month's of research, and wanting to lighten the load of my Eden Metro (78 lbs), I decided to go with Carvin's MONSTER Bass head, the BX500! Running it with my Avatar B 210 cab, I have cut 22 lbs', and have the amp of my dream's! The BX500 let's me dial in the tone I need, and it really brings my 77 StingRay out-front! I have A/B'd the Metro and Carvin, and even ran the BX500 through the Metro's 2x10 cab, and I can honestly say, that the Carvin, HAND'S-DOWN, makes it easy to get the tone I hear, and is 100 watts louder @ 8 ohms! The Eden's parametric offers options, but it's TOO easy with the Carvin to tweak MY TONE! The Compressor works great, and the 9 band graphic E.Q. is a nice touch. And, aesthetically, this 5.8 pounder looks tight! And did I mention, THIS AMP IS LOUD?? I would tell ANY Bass Player, for the price, and, functionality, YOU GOTTA BUY THIS AMP!!! Thanks Carvin, The BX500 is Da Bomb!" 

David Arrich Murphys, CA 
"This little amp has so much punch and clarity that the only way to describe it is to try one. It's awesome. I got the case and rack faceplate. Gives it a nice finished look. But if you're just gonna throw it in a backpack then go for it. I got the 2x10 neo cab with it. I am in awe of the amount of sound coming from it. Clean, clear and plenty of punch. I am Carvin amps all the way now. Second to none in both performance, reliability and price. Thanks Carvin." 

JB Hartman Pennsylvania 
"I'll keep this short and sweet...I purchased this head (and the rack mount kit) a few weeks ago and played 2 gigs with it so far. It really has a nice sound to it! And in a flight case with a BBE, only weighs in at 25lbs. The performance, weight and price of the BX500 has made me a very satisfied customer!!" 

James Gooch White Oak, TX 
"I am one of those people who has heard of Carvin through the years but just didn't know enough about them. I was needing to downsize in weight but upsize in volume ... I think I hit the jackpot!! I purchased the BX500 with the BRX210.N cabinet and man, this thing rocks...plenty of volume, a clean sound and I don't have to visit my chiropractor as often anymore. I plan on purchasing a BRX410.N cab or another BRX210.N ... well, as soon as this is paid for!! Carvin ... great gear, nice price!!" 

Scott Miller Charlotte, NC 
"I downsized my old Carvin BX1200 bass head to this small lightweight BX500 to save my back from heavy lifting. I was a bit skeptical at first at it's small size, but after plugging it in my skepticism vanished. This little dude thumps!!!! I can also transport it in my gig bag, so no more large rack to lug around. Carvin engineered a first class winner here!!!!" 

Chuck Diesel San Antonio, TX
"One day about 3 years ago while looking for a bass combo amp, I went to a nearby pawnshop that usually has good music gear and I see the usual suspects: Fender, Peavey, Marshall, Crate combos & halfstacks, and then there was this one combo that stood out with a brand rarely sold or seen in my area. It was a Carvin model BP200. It was the first one I tried and I liked the versatility of it and had enough power to shake the walls of this brick & mortar building. I tried out the other amps to see what kind of sound I could get out of them, but the Carvin had set the standard and I went back to try it again before finally putting it on layaway (it was about 350 bucks and I didn't have that kind of cash at the moment plus I didn't want anyone else to come in and buy it before I could! Well fast forward 4 years and about 2 weeks ago during a rehearsal just hours before a show my presence cut out and I knew something was wrong. I checked everything on the amp and replaced a fuse but the power transformer was shorted, busting the fuses and leaving me with a smell that no one with expensive electronics want to smell. We were all freaking out about playing the show as it was going to be one of our biggest shows to date with a very good amount of friends and family going that have been wanting to see us play locally for a long time now since we've been playing out of town a lot recently. Well we got that settled by using my cousins amp he had laying around. It wasn't a Carvin but I had little choice, as the saying goes "Beggars can't be choosers." 

So I looking into replacing the whole combo amp and go to the usual places looking for a deal and trying out all these new amps and I feel at a loss because none of the places I went to had new or any for that matter Carvin gear that I could compare with. The fact that I got the BP200 at a pawn shop used, and it lasted me four years throughout many roadtrips, shows and practices spoke volumes for the reliabilty of Carvin products. I then decided to look online to see what info I can find about Carvin and lo and behold they have a pretty good looking website so I go straight to Bass Amps and was amazed at the variety and low prices of the heads and combos and they even have repair services for their products! I had thought about getting the BP200 repaired, but then I saw it listed as discontinued and it had a replacement and that is what has brought you and I here... the BX500. I also saw BP200 listed in the Carvin Museum so now I was thinking 'Wow I was playing a on a relic all these years'. The dimensions were nearly identical but listed a little bit taller and had more depth. I decided instead of buying a new combo amp and have a glorified paperweight laying around I could reuse the enclosure and buy a new upgraded speaker (which I also got from Carvin) and just replace the old BP200 head with the BX500. Just got the BX500 today and the head didn't fit initially due to the rubber feet on the bottom of the amp, but they were removable! After taking them off the amp slid in and fit like a glove! I was initially amazed at the light weight of this amp vs the old one. Same for the new speaker. Well after putting it all together in a usable form. 

I plugged in my bass and then another grip of terror took hold of me. No sound was coming out. It turns out the mute switch was on. HA! But then the sound coming out of the speaker was faint like a whisper of the ghost of the BP200 was calling out to me. But then I started adjusting some dials one at a time and I swear it was like bringing back someone from the dead the bass sound grew louder and more focused and soon the floor beneath my feet started to rumble and we were back in business!! I'm still tweaking out the settings to get my tone dialed in but if you're considering this amp and are on a budget then you should get it. In my time doing research and pricing out everything you cant get any better of a deal than this. There were no other standalone heads in this price range that you can get and have as many pro features or get this good a sound. A good product made here in the USA at a very affordable price. I would recommend ordering early in the week so you don't have to wait forever to get your stuff, as UPS takes the weekend off. Altogether with the new speaker the whole combo amp now weighs a lot less I'd probably say it's a good 10lbs lighter which is great for my aging bones. Carvin also has great, fast customer service. I have enlosed a picture of the new amp and speaker in the old BP 200 enclosure. BP used to stand for Bass Pro, and not too sure what the BX stands for, but it should stand for Bass eXtreme! Also I like the pretty blue lights when the amp is on. Ok time for me to go work out my settings I used Carvin for playing heavy metal, jazz & blues and currently alternative rock. Have fun everyone and enjoy your bass, I do!" 


Rick Crooker Clinton Township, MI
"All I can say is that after receiving the Carvin BX500 and playing out with it the past few months, all my Ampeg and SWR gear has been sold! Since then I have purchased more goodies from Carvin: BR210 cab, BR115 cab and the MB10 Micro Bass combo. Thanks Carvin for creating a monster." 

Rick Crooker Mt. Clemens, MI
"After playing bass for 35 years, I finally acheived my ulitimate gear set-up using a Carvin BX500 amp with a Carvin BR115 cabinet, a Carvin MB10 combo and a Rickenbacker 4003 bass. This set up gives me the ability to use the "RIC-O-Sound" using both Carvin amplifiers. WOW, the sound is unbelievable. You guys know how to make a great product. And it's all made in the USA! Thanks."